14 August 2009

music's influence, woodstock's 40.



i have always had a sort of fascination with music. the sounds, the lyrics, the emotions, the music. it always seemed to speak to my soul from a very young age. i was so interested in the people that were making music, writing it, singing it, and just involved in the process. so involved was i in this love affair with music, it never occurred to me that others didn’t feel the way i felt about it. i was obsessed.
when i was a little girl, i asked my mother about woodstock. my mother was born in houston, the daughter of two small town texas residents, in the heart of baptist country. and yet when i was younger, i asked all sorts of questions about the hippie movement, woodstock, and the vietnam war. my mother was the perfect age to have taken part in all these historical moments in american history, and i wanted to know her part in them. she was married in 1969, just a few months before woodstock took place. i remember asking her about it, begging for some information--did you go? were you a hippie? what must it have been like? she simply responded with a “amy. my parents would have killed me if i decided to become a ‘hippie.’ and i would have never been allowed to go to woodstock, even if i wanted to, which i didn’t because it seemed scary and dangerous.”
my spirits were crushed. this epic musical event that in many ways shaped the way music was heard, and my mother didn’t even WANT to go! i couldn’t believe it. while my mother was a teenager in the late 60s, she and her friends were really more of the Jackie O style, with pencil skirts, lettermans’ sweaters, and flipped out hairdos. there was no room for hippies in houston texas, at least not in her momma's household.
that culture. that hippie culture. something about the whole thing always seemed so romantic to me. something about the organic lifestyle, nomadic existance, and the yearning for natural living, just seems so much more the way we ought to be living. in looking back on woodstock, as it’s 40th anniversary is this weekend, i am still so intrigued about its past. the people who were there, how much of the stories are real, and the music. the music that changed people’s lives.
music has always been a part of me. from practically living on our living room ottoman as i belted out tina turner into my fisher price microphone in diapers, to being called a human encyclopedia of lyrics by my friends now, music is not just a hobby or an interest. it’s kind of an affinity. a compulsion. one of those things that can’t be stopped in my bones.

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